When we talk about cut in the context of performance in a diamond we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Marcel Tolkowky. In 1919, in his groundbreaking thesis Diamond Design, this Doctor of Science in Engineering offered mathematical proof that a specific number and arrangement of facets when applied to the diamond cutting process could produce unprecedented dispersion, scintillation and brilliancy. His theorem would become his legacy.
His musings in the margins of his manuscripts also gave us some valuable insight into what he was thinking. He said that a diamond was simply a system of windows and mirrors. Because all light comes from above, the top or crown of the diamond was mathematically designed to get as much light into the diamond as possible. The bottom or pavilion when cut to a very specific angle becomes a very effective mirror or reflector.
Whereas Marcel Tolkowsky is generally considered the father of the "ideal cut," a tribute to the diamond cutters of that period is in order here, especially Henry Morse who owned a diamond cutting facility in Boston in 1875. Documents show that Morse was cutting diamonds to the same model as Tolkowsky proposed almost 40 years earlier…each man arriving at the same conclusion, one by trial and error and the other by mathematical proof.
With all the modern technology available today such as ray tracing, 3D computer modeling, and the like, you’d think that we would have been able to disprove Tolkowsky by now…yet his theorem still stands.